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Growing from “Like” to “Love”

By Katheryn Robichaud, Communication Studies, ’13

When I came to Chico State as a freshman, I was hesitant: How would the transition be? Is this the right school for me?

Katherine H blog picFor the first time, I was moving away from my home in Pleasanton, and I knew I would face some homesickness. I decided to dedicate freshman year to learning how to balance my time, studying for my classes, and becoming familiar with my new world. That year, I explored Chico, the downtown area, and Bidwell Park and made new friends living in the residence hall. By the end of my freshman year, I knew that I liked Chico, but I didn’t yet feel a strong connection to the campus and community.

Since orientation people had been telling me, “Make sure you get involved,” but I didn’t quite know how. I was unsure of what to do to feel more connected. My sophomore year, I decided to make joining a club a priority and ended up joining one within my communication studies major. The club helped me to meet people within my own area of interest and become friends with people in my classes.

At the same time, I became more familiar with the Chico area, learned all the streets around campus, and had got to know more of my professors and classmates. By the end of my sophomore year, I knew I really liked Chico.

Katherine H blog pic 2

But it was the third year that changed my entire college experience. My junior year, I became a Summer Orientation peer advisor, and it was one of the best opportunities I could have found.

As a Summer O leader, I trained for six months to become a Chico expert, and throughout the summer I got to welcome all the new freshmen and transfer students, orient them to campus, tell them the ins and outs of being a Chico State student, introduce them to graduation requirements, and help them pick out appropriate classes for their first semester. I got to share my own experiences with these students, and it felt great helping to kick-start their Chico Experience.

Meanwhile, I became friends with the other 28 incredible students who were hired as Summer Orientation leaders. Along with making connections with faculty on campus, I improved my teamwork skills, public speaking, and ability to interact with a different group of people every day. At the end of my third year, I loved Chico.

Katherine H blog pic 3

In my senior year, I continued with the Summer Orientation program as one of four senior staff members, meaning I got to help select the new members for the 2013 Summer Orientation, train them, and put on workshops to help the team bond. I concurrently had an on-campus internship, making it my busiest but most rewarding year. I now felt the strong connection to the campus and community that people had told me about when I first came to Chico. I finally fully understood that “getting involved” was the key to a well-rounded experience at Chico State.

I graduated this spring, and it is very hard to accept that this chapter of my life has come to an end. By graduation, I loved Chico State so much that I wished I could have stayed longer! After getting involved with Summer Orientation, making countless friends and connections on campus, and making an impact on new students, I can look back and say that coming to Chico State was the best decision I ever made.

Behind the Lens (of a Smartphone)

Earlier this year, we announced the launch of the official Chico State Instagram account (@ChicoState), and it’s taken off like a rocket. There is so much beauty on campus and around town, and the photo sharing app gives us an opportunity to capture it at a moment’s notice and broadcast to all our students, alumni and friends. But since our Public Affairs staff and intern can’t be everywhere at once, we’ve enlisted the help of two special contributors.

Meet Michael Alonzo and Frank Rebelo!

Michael Alonzo shying away from the camera.

Michael (@mealonzo) is the supervisor of grounds and landscape for CSU, Chico. He graduated from Chico State in 2008, with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, option in plant science. He has worked in the golf and landscape industry since 1996, which brought him full-circle to the Facilities Management and Services (FMS) department at Chico State.

Frank Rebelo planning his next Instagram photo.Frank (@frankrebelo) graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences, option in atmospheric science. He began using Instagram for fun and for his position at The Orion, which led him to start an unofficial Chico State account as a side project to show past, present and future students our beautiful campus.

We sat down with Michael and Frank for a few minutes to get to know them better.

What interests you most about taking pictures?

Michael Alonzo: First, a lot of people walk around with their faces glued to their phones /devices who end up missing all the neat stuff that is around them, just right there in front of their distracted faces (something I am also guilty of). I find it fun to take a picture of the ordinary, shot from a not-so-ordinary angle or vantage point, and share it with those who would otherwise walk right by it. Secondly, I have always been drawn to art. Going back to the days of finger-painting, I always had to have some sort of artistic outlet in order to stay sane. Frank Rebelo captures the Holi Festival of ColorsTaking and sharing photos with the Instagram community has become one of my favorite outlets.

Frank Rebelo: Through photography, I can capture moments that may be either too small or too fast for someone to normally notice, and by sharing the final photo, I can hopefully elicit the same emotion I experienced when it happened.

What is most fun or interesting about photographing Chico State?

MA: I find the historic features of Chico State fun to photograph, as well as the inner-workings of the facilities that FMS is responsible for. I have been given a unique campus viewpoint. I try and relate our work here to the folks who work at Disneyland, where our behind-the-scenes work keeps the show running on a daily basis.

FR: The best part about photographing Chico State is that it gives me total artistic freedom. It challenges me to find something new or overlooked about the campus that I can show – and hopefully surprise – someone.

What is your preferred way of taking photographs—film, a digital camera, on your phone?

Michael Alonzo takes in the flame statue in Alumni Glen.MA: My favorite way to take photographs is with a digital SLR, but my go-to camera is my iPhone. The candid nature and gritty feel of a camera phone is hard to beat sometimes.

FR:I prefer taking pictures with my DSLR, although, my iPhone 4S challenges me to use something that everyone has in a new way to capture something different.

What is your favorite Instagram filter?

MA:I usually edit all my photos with one of several apps or even stack several apps on top of each other to get the picture I see with my mind’s eye. My favorite mobile apps are Snapseed, Noir and ColorSplash.

FR: I do not particularly like using filters, though I might use Mayfair, or the faux HDR, to help achieve the look or feel that I am looking for.

Which Chico State Instagram photo you’ve taken do you like the best? What do you like about it?

Big Chico CreekMA:My favorite Instagram photo is the first one I posted for the official feed. It is a serene picture of Big Chico Creek, as is winds past Selvester’s. I was almost standing in the water under the Gus Manolis bridge. I took that photo with a digital SLR and did all the editing on my phone. I was there between classes, so there was no one around, no one making a sound and only faint ripples can be seen on the water.

First Street PromenadeFR: My favorite photo is from Feb. 7, 2013. It is a photo looking past the PAC looking down [the First Street Promenade]. To me, it almost looks ethereal. During a break in some rainy weather, we got some much needed sun. I hope that people who saw my photo, stopped to take a moment between classes and admire our campus.


Check out Michael and Frank’s photos and keep in touch with the University scene by following @ChicoState on Instagram.

Meet Some of Chico State’s Amazing New Graduates

damario-sims-thumbBasketball star Damario Sims has left an indelible mark on Chico State athletics history over the past four years. But beyond the buzzer-beating shots is his most defining aspect: the obligation he feels to be a role model for young people from his hometown of West Oakland. Read More

ariel-ellis-thumbIf there’s one thing Ariel Ellis wants those who feel depressed to know, it’s that they’re not alone. In fact, the graduating psychology major has dedicated most of her four years at Chico State to spreading that message and other facts about mental health.  Read More

mmartinez Spending time with Melissa Martinez today, you’d never guess that she was once a college dropout. After excelling in high school, Martinez enrolled in Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with the best of intentions, but found the transition to college life at 17 challenging. Martinez graduates on May 25 with a degree in biological sciences (cellular and molecular) and a minor in biochemistry. Read More

asherrodIf the start of Adrian Sherrod’s high school career was an indication of the rest of his life, his future would likely look different now. After spending most of his young life in Mexico, his mother moved the family back to San Diego County for a fresh start, and the transition to the States was a rough one. That all changed when he was introduced to running track and cross country. Read More 

nwalkerA few months before Nicole Walker started her freshman year at CSU, Chico, her mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Being too far away from her San Luis Obispo hometown to visit often, Walker decided to support her mom in a different way—by getting involved with the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of Northern California. Read More

ian ruddellWhen Ian Ruddell came to CSU, Chico as a freshman, he was prepared to make change. The organizer of the first gay-straight alliance at Atascadero High was already a seasoned activist, used to making things happen. But he may not have anticipated that he would leave such an indelible stamp on both the University and the CSU—changing the way CSU, Chico supports LGBTQ students and voting on issues that directly impact the CSU’s 437,000 students. Read More

tim-sain-thumbUntil he was 25, Tim Sain did exactly what he says was expected of men in his family: He got into drugs, he dropped out of high school, he became an absentee father, he went to jail. He lost his house, his car, his job, his wife, and nearly, his three children. And then Sain did the unexpected. He decided to change everything. Read More


Greg Wells, who uses a wheelchair, was paralyzed at the age of 15 in a high school wrestling accident and also has a documented learning disability. These challenges, he says, make everything a little bit harder, but by staying true to his mantras of “keep going” and “never give up,” he has overcome them in a way that’s impressive by any standard. Read More

Dee ThaoGraduating communication design major Dee Thao is promoting social change through a highly social medium: film. Thao, recipient of the College of Communication and Education’s 2013 Outstanding Student Leader Award, recently premiered a 24-minute film she created that documents her family’s journey as refugees from Thailand when she was 5. Read More

Michael Bluing

Michael Bluing came to Chico as a freshman, sight unseen, on the recommendation of high school teachers who were Chico State alums. “I heard their stories; I saw the brochure, saw all the trees, and thought ‘Hey, I like trees,’” he said, laughing. Bluing is especially passionate about integrating diversity awareness into the learning process. Read More

Swan TomaFew understand or embody the meaning of service work and leadership quite like graduating political science major Swan Toma. Born in Iraq under the regime of Saddam Hussein, Toma and his family, along with others, faced the threat of persecution in 1997 related to his father’s work with Western countries. Evacuating as refugees to camps in Turkey and Guam, the family eventually immigrated to the United States through the sponsorship of an uncle in San Diego County when he was just 6. Read More


We all know selecting a college is a tough choice. Here at Chico State, we want new students to be sure. That is why we offer an open house and day of activities that will help prospective students decide if Chico is the place for them.

In anticipation of this year’s Choose Chico! event (April 6, 2013), we asked our current students and alumni on Twitter to share why they chose Chico State. The response was overwhelming; Chico is a special place.

Many based their decision on our program offerings:


Several students/alumni mentioned our small class sizes:

Some even chose Chico because of a personal connection:

And, of course, almost everyone mentioned the overall atmosphere of Chico including downtown, Bidwell Park, friendly folks, and our beautiful campus:



Have another reason to share? Leave a comment and tell us why you choose Chico.

Admitted students, visit us this Saturday, April 6 for Choose Chico!: http://www.csuchico.edu/admissions/choose_chico.shtml

Follow us on Twitter @ChicoState.

Facebook Cover Photo Challenge!

We want to put your photo here!
We want to put your photo here!

Help us choose CSU, Chico’s Facebook cover photo! Share your photos, and then help select from our favorites to be the next California State University, Chico Facebook page cover photo.

Photos should show off the best of Chico State and the Chico experience. Take photos of our beautiful campus in all its spring glory or your student club hard at work—or make a creative collage of campus scenes. All photos should represent your own work, be in good taste, and comply with the Chico State Social Media Comment Policy.

Photos need to be large enough to work for a Facebook cover photo (851p x 315p, file sizes of 1 to 2MB work well). Most current smartphone camera photos are OK. (Sorry, Instagramers—most Instagram images won’t have high enough resolution when cropped and enlarged to Facebook cover size.)

You may submit up to three photos.

How to Enter:
Share your photo(s) with us in one of three easy ways!

  1. Post it to our Facebook Timeline. Put “cover challenge” or “photo challenge” in the comment
  2. Tweet it to us by tagging @ChicoState and including #coverchallenge or #photochallenge.
  3. Email your photo as an attachment to PAintern1[at]csuchico.edu. Include “cover challenge” or “photo challenge” in the subject line.

Selection Process:
Share your photos with us by Monday, April 15, 2013, at 5 p.m. The Chico State social media team will select up to 10 photos to be featured in a photo album posted on our page Wednesday, April 17. The photographers’ names will accompany the photos, so feel free to brag to your friends if you’re featured. The photo within the album with the most “likes” by Wednesday, April 24, at 5 p.m. will become the next CSU, Chico Facebook cover photo!

Note: This challenge is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with Facebook Inc. Any and all information provided with your submission is to California State University, Chico and not to Facebook.

Planning Events and Honoring Heroes

Alison HealeyBy Alison Healey, senior
Business- Marketing, and Recreation Management Major

“Recreation… So you’re majoring in playing?”

This is what statement I hear from many people when I tell them I am majoring in recreation. Most people don’t realize the recreation major encompasses many fields, including event planning, parks management, hospitality, and tourism.

veterans logo

Through my Recreation 474 class, Association Operations and Events, I was able to plan an event from start to finish. Throughout the semester my classmates and I helped plan Honoring Our Veterans event, campus event held on November 10, 2012.I am focusing on the event planning side of recreation and have become more passionate about it as I take higher level classes. This is because these courses actually let you get hands-on experience within your field of choice.

This was an event in honor of all veterans, but it focused specifically those that were associated with Chico State or the Chico Community. Chico State has been recognized as a veteran-friendly school by a number of publications, and this year the university wanted to take it a step further by hosting a special day for veterans. This is where my class came in.

displays at the veterans eventMy class was “hired” by Chico State to put on the Chico State Honoring Our Veterans event. We were given a budget and a venue that we had to work with. Besides those two points we were on our own.

Throughout the semester, we had to come up with the marketing plan, the menu, the entertainment, the decorations, and the program. I knew event planning was very detail oriented, but I never fully comprehended it until I was in this class. Details such as picking colors for the decorations that wouldn’t offend the veterans and following military protocol were not things we considered in our initial planning.

veterans in attendanceAlthough this was not my first time planning an event, it was beneficial to have my instructor, Polly Crabtree, mentor me through the process. She made us think about what many would consider the basics in event planning in a new way.

For example, inviting the guests seemed like it would be one of the easiest parts of the event. But, we were wrong. Because of the wide age range of our guests,  simple e-mail to everyone would most likely not reach the older population, but a letter in the mail might not reach the younger population. Professor Crabtree guided us through figuring out how to reach our target audience in multiple ways in order to reach everyone.

veteran flags
Student event planners from the Recreation 474 class at the Chico State Honoring Our Veterans event on November 10, 2012.

In the end, the Chico State Honoring Our Veterans event was a hit among the veterans and community members. As people left the event, I was thanked numerous times for my efforts. At times this class was challenging, but it was all worth it once I saw how happy and honored all the veterans looked after our event.

Winter Break Plans? Zzzz…

  1. In the midst of fall final exams last month, we asked our Facebook and Twitter community what they were looking forward to the most during winter break. Aside from graduation and travel, it seems like most Wildcats are hoping to catch up on their sleep!

    Check out the responses below:
  2. Suzi Bailey
    Relaxing, spending time with family and friends, and cleaning my apartment
  3. Greg Bloom
    the arrival of the next solar maximum, an interaction between Earth and the black hole at the center of the galaxy, or Earth’s collision with a planet called “Nibiru”.
  4. gregoriardz
    @chicostate gonna be glad to get outta the #crazystorms we’ve been having lately! I’ll be back for #Januaryintercession though! #2weekbreak
  5. Well, we hope you are all resting up and enjoying your time off.  Tell us how you’re spending your break in the comments section below! See you back in classes January 28!
    Want to stay in the loop with campus news and events?
    Follow @ChicoState on Twitter.